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Anne Stickney

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Know Your Lore: Yrel, Draenor's Light

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

At the moment, we've only got two full zones open in the Warlords of Draenor beta -- Frostfire Ridge, and Shadowmoon Valley. Also open is the introductory lead-in to Draenor through the Tanaan Jungle. It's there that we first meet her, fairly unassuming and not exactly remarkable in any way. Yrel was first mentioned at BlizzCon during the story and lore panel -- a draenei whose story was going to be a major part of the Warlords expansion, the comparison made that she is a Joan of Arc-like figure.

We've only seen the first few steps of Yrel's journey so far in the beta, so the accuracy of that comparison remains to be seen. But Yrel, unassuming as she may seem, already appears to hold a bright spot in the canvas of Draenor's future. So just who is this draenei, and what makes her a lore figure to watch for?

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you are avoiding spoiler content, turn away!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

San Diego Comic-Con 2014 programming schedule released

San Diego Comic-Con International has begun to release its program of events for this year's convention. Blizzard Entertainment will once again have a presence at the convention as well as a panel with Chris Metzen himself. The panel, titled Blizzard Entertainment Showcase, takes place Thursday, July 24 from 2:15-3:15pm in Room 6BCF. Attendees looking for expansion information should take note that this is a panel about Blizzard merchandise and licensed products. While it may include some new information on upcoming projects, there likely won't be a lot of talking about game development -- but the panel does include a Q&A.

However, attendees looking for other Blizzard information would do well to hit up Hall H on Saturday, July 26. Legendary Pictures will be presenting a panel featuring their upcoming slate of films in Hall H from 12:25-1:10pm. Last year, Director Duncan Jones made a brief appearance at the convention to show off what he called a "mood piece" for the upcoming Warcraft film. Filming for Warcraft officially wrapped in May of this year, which means that attendees at the panel may very well see more than just a brief glimpse of Warcraft.

Fans looking for Blizzard on the main convention floor can head to booth 115 for Blizzard Entertainment. At the moment, there still isn't an official schedule for any signings that might take place at Comic-Con. Given last year's list of notable names, we should see an official announcement regarding potential signings and other pertinent Comic-Con info soon.


Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Warcraft Movie

Warlords of Draenor: Tanaan Jungle introduction

Warlords of Draenor begins in a different kind of way than any expansion prior. All players, including newly-boosted level 90's, play through the same short introductory experience. This sequence serves a few different purposes -- partially to ease newly boosted 90's into their abilities, partially to purposefully get players from Azeroth to Draenor, and partially to introduce some of the key players we'll be seeing on Draenor itself, as the expansion progresses.

While I'm not about to spoil everything under the sun in regards to this experience, I did want to review Tanaan as it stands so far on the beta. The latest beta build has fixed many missing textures, as well as adding some new ones -- but the story has by and large stayed exactly the same. So what's it like, playing through this experience? Read on to find out -- and if you'd just like some idea of what the Tanaan experience looks like, check out the included gallery.

Please note: Both the gallery and the following post will contain some spoilers for Warlords of Draenor. If you're avoiding spoilers, don't click!

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Favorites and other inquiries

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

The above video is not only a good song, but totally relevant. I promise. Let's get to the questions!

Sophdog asked:

Q4TQ: What is your most memorable quest/questline? My vote has to go to "The day I punched Deathwing in the face". I make a point of levelling all alts through that zone, just to see it again.

The Darrowshire chain from vanilla, hands-down. I remember my first character randomly getting a quest in Winterspring that sent her all the way to Eastern Plaguelands to find Pamela. And I remember how creepy the Eastern Plaguelands were back then, and that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realized Darrowshire was empty followed abruptly by a case of the willies when I realized Pamela was a dead little girl. The whole chain was amazing. It's still in game, but I feel like Cataclysm stripped a lot of the meaning and the feeling from it, for some reason -- it's just not the same.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: How much of a spoiler is too much?

With every beta comes spoilers -- it's pretty much a given that if there is no NDA in place for beta testers, those testers will talk in depth about what they've seen and experienced. They'll stream as they play the game, or post galleries with screenshots of gorgeous locales and potentially spoiler-laden NPCs. As someone that writes for a site dedicated to covering this type of information, I can't really avoid learning spoilers -- and honestly, it's kind of fun to learn them in advance and let my brain mull over what they could potentially mean.

But it's one thing to post a pretty picture or two, and another altogether to post the step by step plot points of a particular quest chain, or the ultimate fate of an important NPC. Sure, if you see a screenshot of a familiar face, it could be considered spoiler information -- but if there's no context surrounding the screenshot, is it really that much of a spoiler? All you can from that image is the knowledge that that character is there. You don't actually learn anything about why they are there, what they are up to, and what ultimately ends up happening to them down the road.

So I'm curious -- how much of a spoiler is too much for you guys? Do you avoid any and all spoiler information like the plague? Are even screenshots of NPCs potentially too far into spoiler territory for you? Is it the information that you're avoiding, like important plot points and story threads, or is it any information from the beta at all, regardless of whether or not it's delivered with any context behind it?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor: Forget looting the hounds, we can ride them

The latest beta build of Warlords brought with it several new Battle Pets as well as the mount pictured above. Yes, that is a Core Hound, and yes, you will be able to ride it by obtaining the Core Hound Chain. Although it's not directly stated where this mount will be obtained on the mount tab, it's safe to say we'll likely see it dropping in the newly-revamped Upper Blackrock Spire. After all, what's Blackrock Spire without The Beast?

In addition to the Core Hound mount, several Ravager Wasp battle pets were added, along with a Runtish Gronnling, and a pet named Sky-bo that appears to be a miniature version of the Sky Golem mount. At the moment, there's no indication whether Sky-bo is an engineer crafted pet. To check out 3D models of the new Core Hound mount, as well as other new items added to the beta, head over to Wowhead.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Enter to win exclusive Comic-Con prizes from Blizzard

If you aren't lucky enough to be heading to San Diego for Comic-Con 2014, good news -- you can still get yourself some Comic-Con goodies. Blizzard will be giving away 25 Comic-Con goodie bags chock full of cool and exclusive Blizzard merchandise. To enter, simply follow the link provided on the official announcement post, and earn entries by completing a variety of social actions using the contest app.

Winners will receive a Heroes of the Storm T-shirt and lanyard, a Diablo Whimsyshire Treasure Goblin, a Starcraft Cute But Deadly Cloaking Zeratul, a Starcraft Funko Pop! Vinyl Primal Kerrigan, and a Warcraft Nether Faerie Dragon Plush. The contest runs until July 27, so you have plenty of time to get plenty of entries in. For more information, and the official rules, head to the contest app page. Good luck to all who enter!

Filed under: Blizzard, Contests

The Queue: No spoilers here, just an elekk

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

In an effort to avoid spoilers, I went to capture a generic and adorable image of a wee little baby elekk for you guys. This is when I discovered that approaching any of the baby elekks in the elekk pens immediately drew the attention of mama elekk, who would not leave my side until I walked out of the pen and away from her children.

It's little touches that I love about this game.

JacobS.Kuntzman asked:

So when and why did maintenance change to Thursdays? I know we still get rolling restarts on Tuesdays, but what's the deal? And by extension, would we be expecting the Warlords pre-patch to drop on a Tuesday or a Thursday?

Tuesdays are still maintenance days for US servers, and always have been. Thursdays, on the other hand, seem to be the assigned days to do Realm Connections. While we don't know for certain one way or another, I think it's safe to assume at this point that yes, the 6.0 patch will still be arriving on a Tuesday, just like any other patch.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: Which Burning Crusade NPCs do you hope to see in Warlords?

I have to admit, a good chunk of the reason I'm so excited for Warlords of Draenor has very little to do with whatever new content we'll be seeing, and far more to do with simply seeing Draenor as it was meant to be. I loved the Burning Crusade expansion -- the shredded landscape, the alien tranquility of Nagrand, the eerie sight of planets hanging in the sky. But even more than the scenery, I loved the NPCs. Burning Crusade introduced a ton of really entertaining NPCs, many of whom had little in the way of quests to give, but plenty to provide in the way of entertainment, like Cro Threadstrong, Asric and Jadaar, Granny Smith, Griftah, and more.

Sure, I'm excited to see the landscape as it was meant to be, pristine and untouched. I'm really looking forward to seeing Nagrand as it was meant to be, and Shattrath City, and places like Netherstorm, which likely look nothing like the torn landscapes from Burning Crusade. And I know we're going to see familiar faces like Akama, Nobundo, Velen, Drek'Thar, Durotan, Draka and others -- big names in Warcraft lore. But what I'm really hoping is that we'll see those random, weird, delightful NPCs, too. I want to see what Jadaar was up to before he paired up with Asric. Let's see if Cro was always a leatherworker, or if he took a different path entirely on this version of Draenor.

What do you guys think? Did you play during Burning Crusade, and if so, who was your favorite NPC? Do you have a familiar face you'd like to see in Warlords?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

US Connected Realms update for July 7

The list of US realms slated for the Realm Connection service has now been updated with new information regarding upcoming dates for the service. Players on realms that have been scheduled for connection should be aware that connections take place on Thursdays, and the scheduled realms will be down for the service from 5am PDT until approximately 1pm PDT. There are two sets of scheduled dates, as well as a few realms that have been added for an upcoming realm connection, with no date scheduled just yet.

The following US realms are scheduled for connection on Thursday, July 10.
  • Ysera and Durotan
  • Zuluhed and Andorhal, Scilla and Ursin

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Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items